Women may not be the only ones to suffer hormone-changing effects. Not known to many, menopause to men also happens; it is called Andropause—the male menopause, which is more likely a counterpart for women’s. Both men and women experience a decline in hormone production as they get older.
Unlike the sudden drop of hormones that women experience during the menopausal stage which causes them to lose fertility and to no longer naturally bear a child soon, andropause, however, is just a gradual decline of hormone level. Since men do not undergo “well-defined” menopause, doctors refer to this condition as declination in androgen (testosterone) for aging men.
In contrast to woman menopause, wherein hormone production of ovaries completely stops, the andropause that men experience means that testosterone levels only decline but the testes, unlike the ovaries, still produces the substance that is needed to make testosterone.
Generally, when men hit 40, their testosterone level begins to drop at about one percent annually. The drop in men younger than 60 is barely noticeable. Only when they reach 80, about half of men get low testosterone levels.
Testosterone fuels sex drive, physical and mental energy, muscle mass, and fight-or-flight response. As men age older, all of these gradually drops since testosterone levels also decline.
However, not all men experience andropause, unlike in women, all of them encounters a stop in menstruation upon experiencing menopause. For some, the condition does not involve a complete shutdown of reproductive organs, albeit sexual complications may
arise due to lowered levels of hormones. It can be noted that fertility does not end for men, unlike what women face later in life.
When men should seek medical attention upon reaching the andropause stage? But first, how can someone say they have it?
Symptoms of Male Menopause
Andropause can cause physical, psychological, and sexual problems. Symptoms of this condition include:
• low energy
• depression or sadness
• decreased motivation
• lowered self-confidence
• difficulty concentrating
• insomnia or difficulty sleeping
• increased body fat
• reduced muscle mass and feelings of physical weakness
• gynecomastia, or development of breasts
• decreased bone density
• erectile dysfunction
• reduced libido
Moreover, men may also experience swollen or tender breasts, a decrease in the size of the testicle, loss of body hair, or hot flashes. Low levels of male menopause-related testosterone were also linked to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle and weak. However, these symptoms are rare.
Upon experiencing those symptoms, men may seek medical attention to provide relief and improve the quality of life.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The doctor may perform blood testing to check the testosterone level. Unless this condition barely disrupts someone’s life, undergoing this phase can be managed without treatment.
However, the biggest challenge in treating male menopause is the first step of talking about the symptoms to doctors. Most men are too uncomfortable or shy to talk with their doctors about sexual issues.
The most common type of treatment for male menopause symptoms is taking a step to have healthier choices concerning lifestyle. The doctor may advise men to:
• eat a healthy diet
• get a regular exercise
• get enough sleep
• manage stress
All men will benefit from those lifestyle habits. Practicing such routines, men who experience male menopause symptoms may see a drastic change in overall health.
In other cases, some want to improve testosterone levels just like it used to be. The treatment option they choose is “Hormone replacement therapy.” However, just like any other, it has risks and side effects. Replacing testosterone may increase cancer cells to grow for those who have prostate cancer.
Before considering Hormone replacement therapy, talk to a medical professional first and weigh the pros and cons of the treatment before making up a decision.
As people grow older, the decrease in hormone production is normal. It includes the decline of hormone production for both men and women.
However, there are differences when it comes to what they experience. Menopause in women ends fertility and the ability to conceive a child, while andropause, which men face, only decreases their testosterone level but still can produce sperm cells to fertilize egg cells.